MUSIC WRITER IN JAPAN
THE LADY SHELTERS
FUTAKOTAMAGAWA 4th Feb 2023
Having seen The Lady Shelters deliver a superb thirty-minute set of great Rock ‘n’ Roll at the Rolling Stones tribute night just before Christmas, I wanted to see how they would fair over a much longer show. Rather wonderfully, they were playing a full set just twenty minutes from where I happened to be last Saturday night and as a bonus, the winter cold had eased up for the evening so I didn’t have to bundle up like an Eskimo to get there. It was the first time I had been to The Gemini Theater and surprised me as is a Live House, downstairs as is usual in Japan but It also has a refreshment kiosk, graffiti free toilets and a top-level sound and light system. It also has tiered seating. It’s a proper theatre, not just a name.
The gig is well attended and it’s noticeable that a lot of the fans are sporting The Lady Shelters T-shirts and parkas, a couple of them have tote bags. Clearly this band already has a good and loyal following, a fact emphasised by the applause that went up when the lights went down and if there is still a government restriction on cheering at concerts due to covid, then certainly the bloke next to me didn’t care and neither did others in the audience. The band are dynamic from the start as they launch into track one from their debut album which then goes straight into the intro of Electric Ladyshelter. Yoshida looks resplendent in her full-length chequered coat as she pounds away on the floor tom and has a permanent smile that you could see 2000 light years from home. It’s noticeable that she uses the same technique as Charlie Watts, i.e. holding back from hitting the hi-hat when hitting the snare. Kento on bass interweaves classic Rock ‘n’ Roll bass line with his own ideas to create something very special with Yoshida and together, they are a rhythm section on par with McCartney/Starr, Benjamin/Jamerson from Motown and Wyman/Watts. Over the top of this, Jicoo is adding telecaster riffs that are at times solid and other times loose; his feel is akin to a mixture of Keith, Ronnie, Chuck and Scotty Moore; his timing is natural. As if that were not enough, Mizuki is at the front, singing her heart out and has the audience in the palm of her hand. She’s the perfect frontwoman, hypnotic, never misses a note and seems to have endless energy. Together, the band is a highly entertaining ensemble, never boring, constantly rocking.
Two hours fly past. Back at home, I listen to their last two albums and relive the gig. The Lady Shelters are great on record but live, they are something special. In the same way that all the great bands come alive on stage, The Who, The Faces, The Stones, etc, The Lady Shelters channel that electricity, through themselves and out into the crowd. It comes from the magic of the right musicians being together, playing as a band and not for their egos. It’s 100%, good-time Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Wild Biggest Pandas
Stay With Me (The Faces cover)
Summertime Blues (The Who cover)*
Supersonic Transistor Radio
Sadistic Mizuki Punch
Lady Galaxy Dust
Cupola Motor Town
*Originally recorded by Eddie Cochran on 28th March, 1958, The Lady Shelters version is based on the one by The Who, first released on record on their 1970 album, Live at Leeds.
THE MAKING OF FALLING INTO INFINITY
Sony Music International Japan
Sony’s set of releases from the Dream Theater archives is turning into quite a collection. This is the nineteenth in the series and the second based around their fourth album, Falling Into Infinity, an album which was, at the time, not well received by critics. In hindsight, given the turmoil that the band was in, it’s understandable that they lost their way a bit but this release shows that even though that was the case, their ability to give all to a record never wavered. The previous archives release focused on the demos for that album, this one is the making of it itself and it gives fans a further insight into the recording process and what makes up a final recording.
The tracks are not complete which is a good thing for two reasons. Firstly, it would become at least a two-disc set and secondly because having spent many days and nights in studios myself, I know just how tedious and boring recording backing tracks and overdubs can be for someone not involved it. They are snippets which demonstrate the technique of the musicians and together with Falling Into Infinity Demos release as well as the actual album itself, give a complete documentary of the evolution of the album.
Continuing as with the previous releases in this series, the audio is remastered and manufactured using BSCD2. The disc comes in a silky finish tri-fold digipak and includes an eight-page Japanese booklet.
Fans will enjoy the stops, the starts, the changes, the angst and fun and musicians will get a few ideas from this and it’s a great collector’s item. A worthy addition from the Dream Theater archives.
1. New Millennium Basic Tracks
2. New Millennium Overdubs
3. You Not Me Basic Tracks
4. You Not Me String Overdubs
5. Peruvian Skies Basic Tracks
6. Peruvian Skies Overdubs
7. Hollow Years Basic Tracks
8. Hollow Years Overdubs
9. Burning My Soul Basic Tracks
10. Burning My Soul Overdubs
11. Hell's Kitchen Writing the Finale
12. Lines in the Sand Overdubs
13. Lines in the Sand Overdubs
14. Lines in the Sand Doug Pinnick Vocals
15. Take Away My Pain Alternate Take
16. Take Away My Pain Basic Tracks
17. Take Away My Pain Overdubs
18. Just Let Me Breathe Basic Tracks
19. Just Let Me Breathe Overdubs
20. Anna Lee Derek Noodling at the Piano
21. Anna Lee Basic Tracks
22. Anna Lee Overdubs
23. Trial of Tears Basic Tracks
24. Trial of Tears Overdubs
25. The End?